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The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
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The Uncommon Reader (2006)

by Alan Bennett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,8085281,459 (3.93)730
Recently added byYgraine, albzx6, private library, RetroRuby, boekl, LisaBurns1066, rahkan, heyjude
  1. 90
    84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (teelgee)
  2. 60
    Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman (fannyprice, _Zoe_)
  3. 52
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Going in to the bookmobile to apologize for the disturbance created by one of her corgis, Queen Elizabeth II feels it would only be polite to check out a book. When she returns it, she checks out another . . . and then another. One of her pages becomes her abettor in the matter of securing books and reading them. Thus begins an amusing but also thought-provoking saga of how reading can change a person's habits and even outlook.… (more)
  4. 20
    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (wisemetis)
  5. 20
    Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen by Fay Weldon (smallbrownbushbird)
  6. 20
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (raulvilar)
  7. 10
    Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn (chazzard)
  8. 10
    Talking Heads by Alan Bennett (akfarrar)
    akfarrar: Both these books explore the byways of characters whilst remaining unsentimental. They both expose weaknesses in modern British society if not in humanity. There is a wit in both and a degree of black humour.
  9. 00
    Soft in the Head by Marie-Sabine Roger (albavirtual)
  10. 00
    The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (suzanney)
  11. 00
    Mist by Miguel de Unamuno (albavirtual)
    albavirtual: También sobre libros y lecturas, pero sobre todo sobre el juego de la creación literaria, y sobre como los personajes de una novela quieren influir sobre el creador de la misma ¡¡¡¡¡¡
  12. 00
    The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett (jannis)
  13. 00
    The Last Reader by David Toscana (Cecilturtle)
  14. 01
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Brimming with quirky Britishness, these novels take on the transformative powers of doing something different. While the more humorous, satirical Uncommon Reader imagines the Queen as an increasingly sophisticated reader, the more reflective Unlikely Pilgrimage is moving and poignant.… (more)
  15. 03
    The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco (Alixtii)
    Alixtii: Both books having writers getting meta about the nature of writing and reading as a protagonist goes through a process of reading very (and I mean very) many books. Both are written with wit and insight, although Eco's book is better.
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» See also 730 mentions

English (481)  Spanish (11)  Dutch (10)  Italian (10)  German (8)  French (5)  Danish (5)  Catalan (3)  Swedish (2)  Thingamabrarian (the ideal language) (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (537)
Showing 1-5 of 481 (next | show all)
Huh. A very interesting story - I wonder what Queen Elizabeth (would have) thought of it. No idea if she was made aware of it... It's very intimate - close focus on the Queen and her view of things, with rare excursions as far as her staff and a few of her ministers. The ending is extremely abrupt...though I suppose there wasn't much that could be said after that. Screaming and legalities, neither very interesting. Glad I read it, and I think I'll look for other things he's written. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jun 3, 2019 |
Easy to read, but a book that gives so much back to the reader! One of the funniest book I have ever read, short but oh so good! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
A short and delightful read! Bennett's tone is light and funny, and really captures the feeling of being a reader. I feel like I need more stories with the Queen as the protagonist now... ( )
  jakebornheimer | Mar 27, 2019 |
Witty and charming. ( )
  tkcs | Feb 23, 2019 |
A clever and quick read about the discovery of the pleasures of reading, and its unexpected benefits.

This book had much to say, but there's little I feel I need to say for it. The idea itself is as fascinating as Queen Elizabeth II herself, or I should say the idea of her. Because Bennett makes it clear he is using a representation of the Queen rather than making the attempt to find the "real" character of the woman.

Because, admit it, even you most staunch objectors to the coverage of the Royal Wedding sneaked peeks at highlight reels and photo spreads on the news and in the papers. You might even have had an opinion about Kate's dress, those ridiculous hats or the whereabouts of Fergie. It's OK, these things happen. The spectacle of monarchy is increasingly irrelevant, but even us Yanks, especially us Yanks, are curious all the same.

I read this last night because I've misplaced 'Vanity Fair' and had a few hours to fill. This was just the thing, it zipped along and had me laughing at a few places. I grew up with British sitcoms on PBS so I'm probably just used to their humor, but several parts had me laughing out loud, at work and later at home when I realized I didn't want to go to bed without finishing.

Very good. Now where did I put that Thackeray? ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 481 (next | show all)
Det är träffsäkert, roligt och nästan oanständigt underhållande...
 
Bennett manages to touch on some pointed issues in this little volume: life experience versus book experience; the pleasure of reading versus the sterility of being briefed; the riddle of what is "natural" behavior when a person lives so much in the public eye. And he makes you whoop with laughter while he's at it.
 
In recounting this story of a ruler who becomes a reader, a monarch who’d rather write than reign, Mr. Bennett has written a captivating fairy tale. It’s a tale that’s as charming as the old Gregory Peck-Audrey Hepburn movie “Roman Holiday,” and as keenly observed as Stephen Frears’s award-winning movie “The Queen” — a tale that showcases its author’s customary élan and keen but humane wit.
 
The Uncommon Reader is a political and literary satire. But it's also a lovely lesson in the redemptive and subversive power of reading and how one book can lead to another and another and another.
 
This time, his odd, isolated heroine is the queen of England. The story of her budding love affair with literature blends the comic and the poignant so smoothly it can only be by Bennett. It’s not his very best work, but it distills his virtues well enough to suggest how such a distinctive style might have arisen.
 

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bennett, AlanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boda, SofiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damsma, HarmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herzke, IngoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ménard, PierreTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miedema, NiekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pavani, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salojärvi, HeikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steinz, PeterForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At Windsor it was the evening of the state banquet and as the president of France took his place beside Her Majesty, the royal family formed up behind and the procession slowly moved off and through into the Waterloo Chamber.
Quotations
Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting.
Had she been asked if reading had enriched her life she would have had to say yes, undoubtedly, though adding with equal certainty that it had at the same time drained her life of all purpose.
She read, of course, as one did, but liking books was something she left to other people. It was a hobby and it was in the nature of her job that she didn't have hobbies. Jogging, growing roses, chess or rock climbing, cake decoration, model aeroplanes. No. Hobbies involved preferences and preferences had to be avoided; preferences excluded people.
The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included.
Indulged and bad-tempered though they were, the dogs were not unintelligent, so it was not surprising that in a short space of time they came to hate books as the spoilsports that they were (and always have been).
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Book description
From the back cover: When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312427646, Paperback)

From one of England's most celebrated writers, the author of the award-winning The History Boys, a funny and superbly observed novella about the Queen of England and the subversive power of reading

When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Obliged to borrow a book when her corgis stray into a mobile library, the Queen discovers a passion for reading, setting the palace upon its head and causing the royal head of Great Britain to question her role in the monarchy.

» see all 15 descriptions

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